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Your Health is the Key to a Successful Semester

Starting a new academic year is always exciting: You have goals you want to achieve, and this fall brings you one step closer to reaching them. That’s why it’s important to begin the school year with a wellness plan to help you stay on top of your game. As prevention is key to taking care of yourself, we’d like to share recommendations for ensuring you have a healthy year.

Plan to eat balanced meals and drink plenty of water. Hippocrates famously said, “Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food.” The father of modern medicine appreciated the important relationship between food and health, and you should too. Your diet should be high in nutrients and composed of mostly “whole” foods — fresh produce, high-protein foods, and whole grains. You can learn more about balanced eating through the My Plate initiative and find recipes and resources for eating healthy on a college budget online as well. And don’t forget that the GSU Café features healthy food options.

Exercise regularly. Not only does exercise enhance overall body fitness and cardiovascular health, but it also wards off depression, aids in digestion, and improves sleep. The Governors State University Athletic and Recreation Center is conveniently located on campus and is free to GSU students — just use your myONECARD. In addition to the free weights, exercise machines, and cardiovascular equipment, there is an Olympic-style lap pool, a gymnasium with a full-sized basketball court, and a racquetball court. There are also team sports, special events, and classes to keep you moving.

Get plenty of rest. This might seem tough to do. You’re in college, after all, and that means you’re busy with classes, projects, studying, and maybe even a job. But when you go short on sleep, you become fatigued much more easily. And when you’re fatigued, you simply don’t have the energy needed to function properly and perform well in anything — school, work, sports, social events, anything — which is reason enough to prioritize your sleep routine. Even with the fullest schedules, there are ways to ensure that your body and mind are getting the rest that they need.

Practice mindfulness. Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention on the present. Practicing mindfulness has been linked with stress reduction, improved memory, and increased mental focus, among other benefits. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to experience. Every Thursday from 3– 4:30 p.m., starting September 27, Professor Maristela Zell hosts mindful practice in room A2150, but you don’t have to wait until Thursdays to be still, though. Mindfulness can take place in your room, car, or any quiet space you deem fit.

Seek professional care. Sometimes we need extra help. Sometimes we have more than a cold or aren’t just a little sad. At GSU, you can meet with health professionals who are there to provide you with the care you need. At our Counseling Center, you can speak confidentially with a mental health counselor to discuss emotional concerns, substance abuse problems, sexual health, relationship issues, or any other concerns you may have.

If you’re sick, you can see a doctor at Riverside Immediate Care Center, just 10 minutes from campus in Monee. At Riverside you’ll find both treatment and prevention services. And if you need a higher level of care, their healthcare professionals will refer you to a physician.

This semester — and every semester — keep yourself in mind. Take care of yourself so that you can do the great thing you’ve set out to do: succeed at Governors State University.